Duties of Editors:
Fair play: The editor should evaluate manuscripts for their scientific content and relevance to the journal’s scope free from any racial, gender, sexual, religious, ethnic, or political bias. The decision to edit and publish shall not be determined by the policies of governments or any other agencies, but shall be made by the journal itself. The editor shall use the journal’s electronic submission system for all journal communications. The Editor-in-Chief is granted full authority over the editorial content of the journal, as well as the timing of publication of articles.
Confidentiality: The editor must protect the confidentiality of all material submitted to the journal and all communications with reviewers, unless otherwise agreed with the relevant authors and reviewers. In exceptional circumstances and in consultation with the publisher, the editor may share limited information with editors of other journals where deemed necessary to investigate suspected research misconduct.
Publication decisions: The Editor-in Chief is solely and independently responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published. This decision is based on the validation of the work in question, its importance to researchers and readers, comments made by reviewers, and any relevant legal requirements concerning libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. The Editor-in Chief may confer with other editors or reviewers in deciding whether to publish the article.
Peer review: The editor shall ensure that the peer review process is fair, unbiased, and timely. At least two external and independent reviewers must review research articles, and where necessary the editor should seek additional opinions. The editor shall select reviewers who have suitable expertise in the relevant field, taking account of the need for appropriate, inclusive and diverse representation. The editor shall follow best practice in avoiding the selection of fraudulent peer reviewers. The editor shall review all disclosures of potential conflicts of interest and suggestions for self-citation made by reviewers in order to determine whether there is any potential for bias.
Journal metrics: The editor must not attempt to influence the journal’s ranking by artificially increasing any journal metric. In particular, the editor shall not require that references to that (or any other) journal’s articles be included except for genuine scholarly reasons and authors should not be required to include references to the editor’s own articles or products and services in which the editor has an interest.
Involvement and cooperation in investigations: Editor must be responsive to situations where ethical concerns are raised concerning a submitted manuscript or published paper. Each reported act of unethical publishing behavior must be investigated, even if it is discovered years after publication. Editor follows the COPE Flowcharts when dealing with investigations of misconduct.
Disclosure and conflict of interest: The editor must not use unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript in her/his own research without the express written consent of the author. The information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal gain. The editor must hold no conflict of interest with regard to the articles s/he considers for publication stemming from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships with any of the authors, companies, or institutions responsible for the articles. If an editor feels that there is likely to be a perception of a conflict of interest in relation to her/his handling of a submission, the selection of reviewers and all decisions on the manuscript shall be made by another member of the editorial board.
Duties of Reviewers:
Contribution to editorial decisions: Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and may assist the author in improving the article through communications with the editor. Peer review is essential to formal scholarly communication, and is a key component of the scientific work. Any selected reviewer who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and decline to participate in the review process as soon as possible.
Confidentiality: Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. Reviewers must not share the review or information about the paper with anyone or contact the authors directly without permission from the editor. This duty also applies to invited reviewers who decline the review invitation.
Standards of objectivity and competing interests: Reviews should be objective and fair. Criticism and discrimination of authors for personal reasons are unacceptable. Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments. If a reviewer suggests that an author includes citations to the reviewer’s (or their associates’) work, this must be for genuine scientific reasons and not with the intention of increasing the reviewer’s citation count or enhancing the visibility of their work (or that of their associates).
Alertness to ethical issues: A reviewer should bring any potential ethical issues in the article to the attention of the editor, including any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which the reviewer has personal knowledge. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation.
Disclosure and conflict of interest: Reviewer who has a conflict of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the manuscript must notify the editor about the conflict of interest and decline the invitation to review. Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer's own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for the reviewer’s personal advantage. This duty also applies to invited reviewers who decline the review invitation.
Duties of Authors:
Reporting standards: Authors of original research articles should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. The deliberate presentation of false claims is a violation of ethical standards and are unacceptable. Review and technical articles should also be accurate and objective.
Authors are exclusively responsible for the contents of their submissions and must make sure that they have permission from all involved parties to make the content public. Authors are also exclusively responsible for the contents of their data/supplementary files. Authors affirm that data protection regulations, ethical standards, third party copyright and other rights have been respected in the process of collecting, processing and sharing data.
Authors wishing to include figures, tables or other materials that have already been published elsewhere are required to obtain permission from the copyright holder(s). Any material received without such evidence will be assumed to originate from the authors.
Data access and retention: Authors may be asked to provide the research data supporting their paper for editorial review and/or to comply with the open data requirements of the journal. Authors should be prepared to provide public access to such data, if practicable, and should be prepared to retain such data for a reasonable number of years after publication.
Originality and acknowledgement of sources: The authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited or quoted and permission has been obtained where necessary. Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have influenced the reported work and that give the work appropriate context within the larger scholarly record. Plagiarism, where someone assumes another's ideas, words, or other creative expression as one's own, is a clear violation of scientific ethics and is unacceptable. Plagiarism may also involve a violation of copyright law, punishable by legal action.
Plagiarism includes the following:
- word for word, or almost word for word copying, or purposely paraphrasing portions of another author's work without clearly indicating the source or marking the copied fragment (for example, using quotation marks);
- copying equations, figures or tables from someone else's paper without properly citing the source and/or without permission from the original author or the copyright holder.
All submissions are thoroughly checked for plagiarism. Any manuscript that shows obvious signs of plagiarism will be automatically rejected. In case plagiarism is discovered in a paper that has already been published by the journal, it will be retracted in accordance with the procedure described below under Retraction policy.
Multiple, duplicate, redundant, or concurrent submission/publication: An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal of primary publication. To that end, authors should not submit to this journal a manuscript that has already been published in another journal. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical behavior and is unacceptable.
Authorship of the manuscript: Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made substantial contributions should be listed as co-authors. The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included on the paper, and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication. Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the paper (for instance language editing), they should be recognized in the acknowledgements section. Authors take collective responsibility for the work. Each individual author is accountable for ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Disclosure and conflict of interest: All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that could be viewed as inappropriately influencing their work. If there is no conflict of interest to declare, the following standard statement should be added: “No competing interest were disclosed.”
Examples of potential conflicts of interest which should be disclosed include (but not limited to):
-individuals receiving funding, salary or other forms of payment from an organization, or holding stocks or shares from a company, that might benefit (or lose) financially from the publication of the findings;
-individuals or their funding organization or employer holding (or applying for) related patents;
-official affiliations and memberships with interest groups relating to the content of the publication;
-political, religious, or ideological competing interests.
Potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed at the earliest possible stage. All sources of financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article should be disclosed.
Notification of fundamental errors: When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper by publishing an erratum, if deemed necessary by the editor. If the editor or the publisher learn from a third party that a published work contains an error, it is the obligation of the author to cooperate with the editor, including providing evidence to the editor where requested.
Duties of the Publisher:
Handling of unethical publishing behavior: The publisher will take all necessary measures to rectify instances of alleged or proven scientific misconduct, plagiarism, or fraudulent publication, and to amend the article. This includes publishing an erratum or clarification, or the retraction of the entire work. The publisher will work with the editors to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has happened, and will not under any circumstances encourage or knowingly allow such misconduct.
Access to journal content: The publisher is committed to make scholarly research permanently available and preserved and to ensure accessibility by collaborating with organizations and maintaining the digital archive of the journal.
Procedures for dealing with complaints and appeals
Anyone may inform the editors and/or Editorial Staff at any time of suspected unethical behaviour or any type of misconduct by giving the necessary information/evidence to start an investigation.
· Editor-in-Chief will consult with the Editorial Board on decisions regarding the initiation of an investigation.
· During an investigation, any evidence should be treated as strictly confidential and only made available to those strictly involved in investigating.
· The accused will always be given the chance to respond to any charges made against them.
· If it is judged at the end of the investigation that misconduct has occurred, then it will be classified as either minor or major.
Minor misconduct will be dealt directly with those involved without involving any other parties, e.g.:
- Communicating to authors/reviewers whenever a minor issue involving misunderstanding or misapplication of academic standards has occurred.
· A warning letter to an author or reviewer regarding fairly minor misconduct.
The Editor-in-Chief, in consultation with the Editorial Board, and, when appropriate, further consultation with a small group of experts should make any decision regarding the course of action to be taken using the evidence available. The possible outcomes are as follows (these can be used separately or jointly):
· Publication of a formal announcement or editorial describing the misconduct.
· Informing the author's (or reviewer's) head of department or employer of any misconduct by means of a formal letter.
· The formal, announced retraction of publications from the journal in accordance with the Retraction Policy (see below).
· A ban on submissions from an individual for a defined period.
· Referring a case to a professional organization or legal authority for further investigation and action.
When dealing with complaints and appeals, the editorial team will rely on the guidelines and recommendations provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): https://publicationethics.org/guidance/Flowcharts.
The infringement of the legal limitations of the publisher, copyright holder or author(s), the violation of professional ethical codes and research misconduct, such as multiple submissions, duplicate or overlapping publication, bogus claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data and data fabrication, honest errors reported by the authors (for example, errors due to the mixing up of samples), unethical research or any major misconduct require retraction of an article. Occasionally a retraction can be used to correct errors in submission or publication.
For any retracted article, the reason for retraction and who is instigating the retraction will be clearly stated in the Retraction notice. Standards for dealing with retractions have been developed by a number of library and scholarly bodies, and this practice has been adopted for article retraction by Building materials and Structures: in the electronic version of the retraction note, a link is made to the original article. In the electronic version of the original article, a link is made to the retraction note where it is clearly stated that the article has been retracted. The original article is retained unchanged, save for a watermark on the PDF indicating on each page that it is “retracted.”